Four Implications of Martin Luther’s Theology
What do the sovereignty of God, salvation by grace, justification by faith, and new life in union with Christ mean for the living of the Christian life?
Fourth, the Christian life is marked by assurance and joy. This was one of the hallmarks of the Reformation, and understandably so. The Reformation’s rediscovery regarding justification—that, instead of working toward a hoped-for arrival at it, the Christian life actually begins with it—brought stunning deliverance, filling mind, will, and affections with joy. It meant that... Continue Reading
The Little City Delivered: Christ in Ecclesiastes
Keeping the wisdom literature in its canonical and redemptive-historical setting is one of the more difficult challenges for the student of Scripture.
Many have interpreted the Psalms, Proverbs, Song of Songs and Ecclesiastes atomistically under the guise of faithful commitment to a grammatical-historical reading of Scripture. However, this is not how Jesus and the Apostles interpreted the Old Testament. For them, everything is related to Creation, fall and the promise of redemption in the coming Redeemer. Jesus declared that Abraham... Continue Reading
Will Beauty Save the World?
The cross of Christ may not be pretty, but it certainly is beautiful
In one sense, the Bible begins and ends in beauty. In Genesis, Moses repeatedly emphasizes that God’s verdict on His creation is that “it was good,” even “it was very good.” But this statement has a deeper meaning than our English word “good.” Instead the Hebrew also carries the connotation “beautiful.” Sometimes persistent questions... Continue Reading
Let’s thank the Lord for the mentors we have had and pray that God would give us more opportunities to mentor others
“In 1 Thessalonians 2, Paul speaks of his being gentle among the Thessalonians, like a nursing mother caring for her children. Have you ever watched a godly woman caring for her young children? Such gentleness! Such patience! Such careful instruction!” My wife and I recently sat at our dining room table over “It’ll Kill... Continue Reading
Unconditional Election: The Calling and Commissioning of the Apostle Paul
The Apostle Paul’s own experience bears out the utter gratuity of God’s grace to sinners
“I would suggest that the biblical discussion of divine election or unconditional election cannot bypass Romans 9 or other Scriptural passages that indicate that God chooses those whom he will save based upon his own reasons which do not include anything special about the one chosen at the time God saves a sinner.” The... Continue Reading
Shame, Sanctification, Singleness, and Marriage
It seemed like there was no good age to be to talk about the difficulties and the blessings of the season in which I was called to by God.
I don’t want to be ashamed of the fact that at 35, I’ve only been married a year and while most of my peers are coming into their second decade of marriage, I am still a baby at it. I don’t know how to do it well, but I also take great delight in it. Please... Continue Reading
The Ordinary Christian Life
Maybe if we discover the opportunities of the ordinary, a fondness for the familiar, and a wonder for the mundane, we will end up being radical after all.
If gradual growth in Christ is exchanged for a radical experience, it is not surprising that many begin looking for the Next Big Thing as the latest crisis experience wears off. Even in my own lifetime, I’ve witnessed—and participated in—a parade of radical movements. And now, according to Time magazine, the “new Calvinism” is one... Continue Reading
Fears and Fleeting Faith
Our faith is shockingly shallow on the day of uncertainty. Our fears quickly overwhelm our fleeting faith.
We marvel at the disciples for their lack of faith. They had seen miracle after miracle, had experience after experience. They had walked with him and been taught by him as his dearest friends, his closest allies. Yet in one moment of uncertainty they forgot it all. We marvel, but we shouldn’t. If we are... Continue Reading
Don’t Give Up the Battle
We can’t afford to give up or give in; so much is at stake.
Though hard and painful emotions are often distorted and exaggerate reality, they do tell us something, they tell us that something is wrong. They indicate that something is going on in our heart. They reflect our internal struggle with God. When we ignore them, try to control them, attempt to cover them up, or pretend... Continue Reading
Smilingly Leading You to Hell
Christians are called by God to stand firm on what the Bible says is true, no matter how counter-cultural, and no matter how odious to the spirit of the age.
Niceness is not a bad trait. It is not wrong or sinful to be nice. But we vastly overestimate it and at the same time confuse it with those traits that matter so much more. It may be good to be nice, but it is so much better to be holy. One of these... Continue Reading